DeStafney-and-Top-GunBy Rebecca Apodaca

This will be this writer’s 37th Winter NAMM show. As a retailer, a technician and an appraiser who has a store that sells school music and church music to pros and to amateurs, and as a writer for the industry, of course I’m going to the Idea Center sessions to learn as much as I can.

My first step is to review what courses are offered at the Idea Center, and then who will be speaking at the Breakfast of Champions. I’ll attend them, but I also look for seminars for employees or for my Manager to attend. We will all have a meeting afterward to discuss what we learned and how it will apply to our store. I know that this information is what has allowed my store to survive in one of the toughest industries. I recall the days when the sessions were one-and-a-half to three hours at the Hilton. The information I learned in those sessions was pure gold. Personally, I didn’t mind that they were a couple of hours; it was just more time to learn.

Starting when she was 12, I even made my daughter attend. I told her that, since she worked in the store, it would help her to help me, and even help her social skills in dealing with teachers and fellow students. It worked! We are celebrating the 35th anniversary of A & D Music Inc. in 2013, and my daughter is now a successful music director of four orchestras and has grown a program, in five years, from four students to 90, including eight double-bassists.

These seminars offer industry-specific information. Yes, there are motivational sales seminars for selling everything out there, but our own retailers and manufacturers teach most of our seminars. Let’s learn from those who have gone before us and, even more importantly, let’s now learn from the new, up-and-coming part of the industry. We don’t have time to sit back and say, “We’ve done it this way since 19-whatever.” It is a new industry with challenges that we have never seen before.

Breakfast Of Champions

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